Decision time: Will the voluntary sector embrace the age of opportunity?

Mar 19, 2015 | REPORTS

This is the final report of the Commission on the Voluntary Sector & Ageing which was set up by NPC and the ILC-UK to put ageing on the agenda of the voluntary sector.

Decision time: Will the voluntary sector embrace the age of opportunity?

The culmination of 18 months of research and events this report highlights that the voluntary sector is currently not ready for our ageing society and needs to adapt to grasp the opportunities this will bring. It includes challenges and recommendations to ensure that we step up to the age of opportunity.

Suggestions include:

  • Charities should lead the charge to combat ageism—starting with their own practices. Fundraising material showing old people as lonely or needy may alienate potential supporters; limiting highly-skilled older volunteers to unskilled tasks may push them away altogether.
  • Charities should not ignore the ‘forgotten middle’—middle-aged people confronting the stresses of the ‘rush hour of life’. These are the supporters of the future, but who feel charities offer little support to them.
  • Charities should plan and prepare for the changes in policy towards annuities, many of which come in on 1 April 2015. It is estimated that £5bn may be drawn down in the first three months alone, and the report argues both that charities have a role in giving advice to stop mis-selling but also to ensure that some of this money reaches the good causes that retirees care about most.

The call to arms is based on the Commission’s research and consultation with the voluntary sector and we hope it prompts charities and funders to change their thinking. As Martyn Lewis CBE (and speaker at the upcoming launch) puts it:

“This initiative provides just the kickstart that the voluntary sector needs to embrace the demographic changes and opportunities ahead.”